This week’s activities explore backyard ecology! Learn about the biological community of plants and animals living all around you while staying at home. These activities place students in the shoes of naturalists and botanists as they observe, record, draw, and investigate the plants, animals, and fungi living all around them. Take part in citizen science with the iNaturalist app and start an ongoing game of real world Pokemon Go as you collect all the living things you share your ecosystem with!
Online Videos: Use these links to educate and entertain!
- Early Elementary (K-2): The Ecosystem
- Upper Elementary (3-5): Food Webs
- Middle School: Bird Migration, A Perilous Journey
- High School: Why Is Biodiversity So Important?
The Backyard Naturalist: In this activity, kids train their eyes to see nature’s details. Kids draw the details of the plants and animals that they see around them just as Charles Darwin did. After drawing plants and animals as a whole, kids dissect plants and/or flowers to get a detailed look at the inner workings and complex mechanisms of plants.
Backyard Bioblitz: In this activity, families explore the biological community around their homes, either from their yard or indoors. Every day we see plants and animals all around us, often without even noticing them. Observing the first robin of the year or a surprise lily can be exciting, but many other species play important roles in our ecosystems. Using identification resources and a citizen science app, track the community of plants and animals all around you!
Taking Part in Your Ecosystem: In this activity, kids learn how to attract helpful animals to your yard. We rely on pollinating animals to help our flowers bloom and our food grow. Learn about taking part in a citizen science project tracking monarch butterflies and learn how to provide a place for them to grow, while supporting their epic journey. Then challenge kids to engineer a bird feeder with the materials scavenged from around your house or yard.
For additional resources, check out our new STEM @ Home page!